after Tyehimba Jess Freedom is what you can buy with a left jab & a right cross. You’ve got the uppercut of a champ. On a sweaty August night, you watch Ramos v Ramos from the Olympic on TV. You turn off the blaring AC, want to hear the fighters’ tssiiuu tssiiuu, exhaling as they attempt to break each other’s skin. You’re light on your feet like Mando, got Sugar’s hand speed. Freedom is your girl by your side telling you to fight. She brings your boxing license in a lunch bag while you labor at Lockheed, roots for you in Rocky Lane’s garage on a Sunday as you spar any man who dares. She wipes your burning face with a cool towel, the sinewed shape of your body surfacing quick after you trade in Budweiser for a jump rope. Freedom is the rattle in your jaw the first time you take a hook to the gut, the way a glove slides across your nose slick with Vaseline as you size up the weary contender, know that look in his eyes that whispers across the canvas between rounds. Finish me already, body shriveling in the corner, you’ve won.
Copyright © 2018 by Eloisa Amezcua. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Before turning pro, ‘Schoolboy’ Bobby Chacon was notorious for starting fights in liquor store parking lots after school. He began training as a boxer in the late ’60s after his future wife, Valorie Ginn, encouraged him to make a living out of his natural fighting skills. Chacon went on to win two world boxing championships during his sixteen-year career, though he faced many tragedies and pitfalls along the way.”
Eloisa Amezcua is the author of From the Inside Quietly (Shelterbelt Press, 2018), which was selected by Ada Limón as the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Date Published: 2018-07-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/round-3